Cover & Excerpt Reveal
by Teresa Noelle Roberts
Duals & Donovans: The Different Book Three
Toronto cop Cara Many-Winters Mackenzie is still reeling from her fiance's murder when her orderly life takes a turn toward the weird, complete with voices in her head and phantom bleeding wounds.
This violent awakening is the rise of her Different gift-a chaotic, Bugs-Bunny-on-crack magic that she must learn to control before it destroys her. There's only one place to get help: her mother's ancestral village, and a mentor who seems to have stepped straight out of the smoke of her erotic dreams.
Cougar Dual Jack Long-Claw reluctantly agrees to take Cara under his wing, though he'd much rather take the beautiful city girl into his bed. As he guides her through a crash course in shamanic magic, sparks fly-some sexy, some snarky. But when an ancient enemy attacks the village, they must work together to hone a magical weapon against certain destruction.
Common sense tells them it's a terrible time to fall in love. Their spirit guides have other ideas. And shamans who don't listen to their spirit guides are dead shamans...
Warning: Hot shape-shifting feline hero. Strong but shell-shocked heroine. Snarky, meddling spirit guides. And lots and lots of sex: angry sex, crazy sex, magical sex, and just plain sexy sex.
Genre: Erotic Paranormal RomancePurchase links: Samhain Amazon ARe B&N
Content/Theme(s): Shifters, Felines, Witches, Magic
Release Date: October 29, 2013
“Officer Mackenzie?” The voice sounded like her captain’s, but Bell wasn’t known for his stealthy tread. Had Cara been that lost in thought?
Cara jumped a little and looked up from the incident report she was struggling with, the words dancing behind a rising headache and the pervading sense of anger and uselessness she’d been fighting since Phil’s death five months ago. She expected to see her captain’s bulky, blue-clad form looming over her with that awkward no, I’m not checking up on you expression that was way more annoying than open concern would be—and open concern had gotten annoying sometime before her fiancé’s grave was filled in.
Instead, she saw a totally unexpected person, a tiny, wiry old woman with long white braids, no taller than most ten-year-olds, who bristled with energy.
Cara’s rational brain took in a few things. Normally, civilians didn’t get into the squad room without an escort, but the elderly lady was alone. Maybe someone had dropped her off, said something about why she was there, and then left? If that were the case, that was bad even for the mess Cara had been for the past five months.
The visitor wore a pale buckskin dress ornamented with beads and porcupine quills, not a fashion statement but traditional Native clothing, and no coat despite the frigid February weather. Her silvery braids were fastened with rawhide strips. Not something you saw every day in Toronto. Maybe the old lady figured serious business like a visit to the police station merited her version of a weddings-and-funerals suit or dress uniform.
“May I help you, ma’am?” The unusual visitor had roused her curiosity, which could only be good.
“No, but I can help you, Cara.”
How did she know Cara’s first name? Her name plate just said Mackenzie.
The elderly woman extended a small, bony hand, and Cara instinctively took it. She expected it to be icy. Instead, it was hot. As soon as they touched, Cara felt like she was focusing properly on the other woman for the first time. She blinked and recognized her visitor at last. “Grand-mère? Is that you?”
It couldn’t be. Cara had been ten the last time she’d seen the elder of her mother’s village, and the old lady must have been over eighty then. But the woman nodded and smiled. It was an odd smile, like a tree smiling, serene in a way that you didn’t normally see on a human face. “Of course it is, silly. Who else would I be? It’s time to come home, Cara. Come to Couguar-Caché before it’s too late.”
Couguar-Caché—“hidden cougar” in French—her mother’s ancestral village. A place so remote Cara had never been able to find it on a map, even though she knew she’d been there as a little girl. Yeah, just where she wanted to visit in the depths of winter.
As the old woman spoke, the room closed in, leaving only Cara and Grand-mère. The rest of the squad room was still out there—Cara could hear voices, a ringing cell phone—but they were hidden somehow, masked by a fog. Grand-mère had been seated, but suddenly, with no transition Cara noticed, she was standing in an archway made of snow-weighted evergreen boughs. Behind her, where Cara should have seen Dalhousie’s chaotic desk and the captain’s neat one, was forest and snow, woodland twilight and the corner of a log cabin. A cold, bracing wind blew through the archway, smelling of snow and pine and wood smoke. Somewhere in the background, she could make out a tall man with long dark hair. He turned and looked through the weird portal straight at her with intense amber eyes. He was movie-star gorgeous.
That proved it. She’d dozed off at her desk—it wouldn’t be the first time since Phil had been killed, seeing that the busy squad room felt safer and less lonely than her empty bed—and was having a particularly vivid dream. It had to be a dream, right? Because no one else in the squad room was even glancing at her unusual visitor, when normally, on a quiet, snowy afternoon, Goulding, who was a wolf dual, would have been literally sniffing the air and the others would be leaning in, hoping for something interesting. It was the first time Grand-mère had joined the cast of beloved dead people who romped through Cara’s mind whenever she closed her eyes, but unlike the others, Grand-mère was cheerful. And she’d brought a very decorative man with her.
But Cara shouldn’t be dreaming about handsome imaginary men. In some ways, that was more disturbing than dreaming about bloody dead ones. The involuntary surge of interest reminded her of the real man she’d lost.
Cara jumped to her feet, hoping the movement would bring her back to reality. As soon as she moved, pain drove an iron spike into Cara’s head, blurring her vision so Grand-mère appeared transparent and blended oddly with the tree behind her. The wrist Cara had sprained playing hockey in college swelled and stiffened. One leg buckled, screaming with pain—the one she’d broken as a kid.
And blood began to pour from the place she’d been shot two years ago in a domestic gone horribly wrong. More people she hadn’t been able to save. Like her mother and father. Like Phil.
She leaned against her desk, frantically trying to stay upright, but the pain was too much. As she collapsed to the floor, faces swam around her—Phil, both as he’d been in life and with a great hole in his chest and a look of shock on his death-pale face; her mother, talking to the trees in the backyard as if they were answering; her red-faced, angry drunk of a father in his own Toronto police uniform, and in his coffin. The wife and children a perp had murdered before shooting her, then turning the gun to his own crazy head.
Suddenly, she was in that crazy head, the dead man’s life crashing on her like a wave. He’d tried to be a good, gentle man, but he’d fought a lifelong battle with the monsters in his head, and in the end he’d lost. She knew things about him she’d never read in any of the reports, horrible secondhand memories that made her wonder how he’d lived that long before putting a bullet to his head to stop the pain and made her comprehend, a little, why to him, killing his wife and babies seemed like saving them from an ugly world.
On the floor by her desk, bleeding, in shattering pain, Cara began to cry as she hadn’t been able to cry for Phil.
Grand-mère touched her cheek. “It’s time, Cara-child. You’re ready. He’s ready. Go to Couguar-Caché. Or share your mother’s fate.” The old woman knelt and kissed her forehead, then stepped back through the doorway of evergreen branches and vanished.
The squad room popped back into focus, the electric lights bright and jarring. Someone was leaning over her—Goulding, she thought, but her eyes couldn’t focus through the tears. She brushed him away and pushed to her feet.
For about half a second. Then her leg buckled again and the world turned black.
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Be on the lookout for Teresa Noelle Roberts' upcoming release: Out of Control coming April 2014
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